Escape Into Life Digest No. 44


Photograph by Saana Wang

If the first month of 2012 seemed like one long Monday morning, break your fast in this emerging new year with a quick review of our fresh January menu. If you like to start things with a bit of a surprise, try breakfast in bed with any of our mischievious bloggers–even we don’t know what they are up to until we see it. And if you are up to a Hobbit “second-breakfast” stop into EIL’s ever-expanding Arts Store for rich and delectable items to-go. January brought us reviews of music and movies, essays, poetry and, as always, an array of stunning imagery.

Artist’s Watch: Saana Wang . . . Documenting the fraying edges of the Hujialou district of Beijing, Wang’s work emphasizes mythic and human elements of Wang’s urban interiors. The photographer stages her storied images within a decaying Communist housing block. It is, however, the poignant painted faces of her subjects that take her work into a striking mythic framework, evoking  memory, longing, and grief. The make-up, familiar from traditional Chinese opera, break barriers of expectation and leave the viewer haunted and hungry.

Art History Essay: Painting Russian Royals in the Eighteenth Century . . . Stephen Pain’s vivid examination of Russian portraiture continues EIL’s grand tradition of incisive critical essays. Bringing the reader into the rich and perilous world of aristocratic painters, Pain explores the details of painterly choices, the demands of influential clients, and the cultural and political expectations under which  such portrait artists labored. Don’t miss this essay as food for thought–the croissant of the day.

The Poetry of Scott Poole . . . A servant of dreams and maple bars, Poole’s poetry moves quickly with Calypso rhythms that sing to the reader. An observer both keen and humorous, Poole allows the heart and the eye to equally impart the “heart-knocking” incisions of interior life.

Movie Review: Shame . . . EIL reviewer Luke Grundy promises a lot of sex in British writer-director Steve McQueen’s new movie Shame. Since the theme of the movie deals with one man’s obsessions it is not surprising that images of desire pervade the film in a manner more observant than voyeuristic. Michael Fassbenderhe playing the protagonist, Brandon Sullivan, depicts a mesmerizing descent into feral promiscuity. In this painterly essay of a film, McQueen returns to explore issues of willpower that he previously explored in his earlier film, Hunger.

Mp3: Never Change by  Julianna Barwick . . . End the January buffet with a EIL bonus treat. Chris Kapolas has found us varied and exciting music over the last months and this vocally layered piece is no exception. Tune in for the download he describes as “like opening your eyes under water.”

 

Stacy Ericson is an editor, poet, and photographer addicted to imagery both in word and in art.  Her work often reflects her roots in the western states and an abiding interest in other cultures, ancient languages and religions, and other visceral passions. She lives and works in Boise, Idaho. Her poetry, fiction, essays, and photos can be found at the old bouquet , while fine art and portrait work can be seen on her professional website Stacy Ericson Photography.